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Vacancy for a Construction Training Centre Business Development Manager at Weston College

Weston College are looking for a highly ambitious and proactive professional to join the team to continue to grow and develop their wide range of heavy plant, health and safety and construction related specialist training programmes.

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SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE DESIGN AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Project Overview.

Retrofitting the existing housing stock represents a huge potential in actions to mitigate climate change and achieve the UK’s carbon neutral targets. There are also wider benefits from retrofit investments in addition to those of environmental aspects, such as improved health & well-being of occupants or fuel poverty reduction and job/employment creation and local economic growth.

However, these social-related benefits are not easily articulated or measured during the decision-making process of many retrofit investments. There is therefore a need for robust tools that allow a wholistic appraisal of investments in retrofit programmes/projects to evaluate their full benefits comprehensively. Doing so has the potential to strengthen the justification needed for retrofit investments especially in the social housing sector where retrofitting yields the greatest impacts.

This research project at the Nottingham Trent University’s School of Architecture Design and Built Environment seeks to develop a measurement framework tool that can be used to capture these social benefits and impacts in a systematic way and quantify them in economic terms to allow for robust and informed retrofit investment decision-making for social landlords and their residents/tenants.

The aim
As part of this study, the research team is undertaking data collection with social housing experts and practitioners in order to understand any existing retrofit evaluation tools and methods and to identify benefits of retrofits from their respective. This will generate a set of indicators of retrofit benefits. Experts will also be consulted on methods and criteria for scoring these indicators.

The research team will produce a framework and a set of tools for systematically identifying and measuring benefits of retrofit investments, which can be used by all
stakeholders, such as policymakers, social landlords, supply chain partners, community groups and residents themselves.

The benefits for the social housing sector

Contact the Research Team
For more enquiries or concerns regarding this research, please contact:
Michael Asinyaka: michael.asinyaka2019@my.ntu.ac.uk, or Ming Sun (Prof): ming.sun@ntu.ac.uk or Emmanuel Manu (Dr): emmanuel.manu@ntu.ac.uk.

To Hackitt and Beyond!

Andrew kindly asked me write the opening remarks to this month’s newsletter. Dame Judith Hackitt will be our keynote speaker at the Construction Summit on the 26 May 2021. As such, I thought it would be worth highlighting and encouraging everyone in the construction sector to read Building a Safer Future (Report). The Report focuses on the tragic events of Grenfell and it shines a spotlight on the construction sector which, for the most part (and based upon the evidence being given at the on-going enquiry) is still promoting a culture of ‘race to the bottom’ rather than facilitating good practice. In short, the Report states that the construction sector suffers from:

As such, the Report suggest that we should think about building as a system and therefore recommends a new regulatory framework for high rise and complex buildings with a recommendation that the regulatory framework should be applied to other multi-occupancy buildings (such as student accommodation blocks or hotels). We know from experience, these processes (in whole or part) are likely to filter down to other types of buildings and projects.

The Report recommends a new ‘joint competent authority’ (JCA) which will consist of the Local Authority Building Standards (formally Building Control), the fire rescue authority and the Health and Safety Executive. The JCA will look at the building from a health and safety perspective from its inception, through construction and throughout its maintenance. The recommendations are based on a model of risk ownership, rather than risk transfer.

For those involved in the procurement of construction works, Chapter 9 of the Report reminds us that the procurement process kick-starts the behaviours of the project team members throughout the design, construction, occupation and maintenance of the building. The Report highlight examples of inadequate specification, a focus on low cost or an adversarial contracting system, all of which can make it difficult to produce a safe building. The Report states that best value is dependent on establishing a collaborative partnership with the client and the construction team. Also onerous payment and retention arrangements put a financial strain on the supply chain which can cause sub-contractors to substitute materials based on price rather than performance.

Those involved in Constructing Excellence will recognise the points made in Chapter 9 of the Report. The same points can be found in a number of earlier reports starting with Constructing the Team (1994) and Rethinking Construction (1998). In those reports, the emphasis was on the efficiency benefits of collaborative working. This Report has had to make the same points but unfortunately, this it is now in the context of the health and safety of the occupants of a residential building.

The Report suggests that the construction sector should learn from the good practices in other sectors such as the chemical industry and civil aviation sector where the need to protect and preserve safety performance is an integral part of contract negotiation and agreement. We all know of specific sectors of the construction industry where we have seen that safety is the overall priority. However, what is it that these other industries do, which we should be also doing? Perhaps we should find out.

It is hoped that the Building Safety Bill will come into force this year and in order to understand why this new piece of construction specific legislation is required, it is important to read this Report to appreciate why using a collaborative procurement model in construction will – or should be – the industry standard model so that each duty-holder under the new regime will be held accountable.  Like you, I will be looking forward to listening to Dame Judith Hackitt on the 26 May 2021.

Alan Tate  FCIOB, Partner – Michelmores LLP

This month, Martyn Jones asks us how much progress have we made in unlocking the potential of specialist contractors and giving them a more participative role in the development process.  Back in 1998 Martyn co-authored a report for the then Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), Unlocking specialist potential: A more participative role for specialist contractors with the support of the members of a Task Force assembled by the Reading Construction Forum.

In the report, the Task Force set out the crucial role that the specialist contractor plays in delivering project outcomes and providing client satisfaction, particularly in the case of those specialists contributing a significant amount to product design and specification.

It proposed three main strategies for adding value for the whole supply chain: improving relationships through teamwork and collaboration, taking a process-oriented approach to the design and construction process, and making customer requirements the central focus.

The report also argued that transformational leadership and cultural change brought about through continuous and shared learning were needed if the proposed strategies were to be successfully implemented and sustained.

Later, the Bristol Constructing Excellence Club, again with DTI funding, undertook an investigation into the means to engage specialist contractors and suppliers in the Rethinking/Constructing Excellence agenda. The report set out the barriers the specialists faced in engaging with the Rethinking Construction principles, the forms of help they needed, the strategies they should employ, and the role that the Constructing Excellence Clubs could play in supporting them in their transition to a more central and proactive role.

And CESW had yet another go with the publication of two guides: Outcome-led procurement: A common sense approach to procurement and then Outcome-led procurement: The view from the supply chain. The former called for design and construction to be treated as a joined-up process and the latter for other upstream project participants to think value and not price, and to think about putting themselves in the position of their specialist contractors and suppliers.

To follow up on the publication of the guide to Outcome led procurement: The view from the supply chain, CESW facilitated a series of regional workshops aimed at clients and their advisors on Outcome led procurement: How to get more value out of the supply chain. The workshops, in partnership with CE Clubs, set out what its like to be a specialist contractor/supplier and what participants upstream in the design and construction process could to unlock more value.

So, what progress have we made? According to Martin Davis, a member of the Reading Construction Forum Task Force back in 1998, and a practitioner with 31 years as a specialist M&E contractor, it’s still very much work in progress. In a recent article in Building magazine on The Construction Playbook Davis argues that although the supply chain accounts typically for about 80% of the cost of the project they are still largely marginalised in the design and construction process. He says, “Speak to any of them [specialist contractors] about collaborative procurement and they will tell you that nothing much has changed: they are still typically appointed on a price, screwed down as the main contractor seeks to recoup the losses from his decision to discount his margins to win the overall contract. Simply put, value has been sucked out of the [very] asset to be provided by the supply chain.”

He goes on, “How could anyone who cares about construction disagree with anything in the Construction Playbook? Why then do I, a practitioner with 31 years as a specialist M&E contractor, know that it will not realise the government’s ambition to “change our approach to delivery”?

He observed that, tellingly, of the 48 signatories to the Playbook, only one was a specialist subcontractor (as distinct from an “official”).

So, what can we do to further develop and fully unlock specialist potential and engage them in the change agenda? Here are four to be getting on with:

In Constructing Excellence, we all re-energise our efforts to engage more specialists and suppliers in shaping the industry’s change agenda and transformation.

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